HVAC Maintenance: Preparing Your HVAC System for Winter

HVAC Maintenance

HVAC Maintenance Tips for the Winter

The Holiday Season was so pleasant, filled with celebrations with family and friends, but the new year has arrived. Attitudes change a little, so a reflective mood. With a brand-new calendar, many people feel a “call to action” and make resolutions and dietary changes.

The immediate projection is several months of winter weather. One call to action might be to prepare the furnace for the heating season with some maintenance and emergency preparedness. Here are four HVAC Maintenance steps to make the winter more comfortable and safer for family members.

HVAC Maintenance: Change the Air Filter

This is a common refrain from everyone involved in this industry. A dirty air filter is the greatest threat to poor indoor air quality, heating (or air conditioning) function, and the long-term health of the HVAC system. Every HVAC configuration depends on adequate airflow. A clogged air filter is like driving through mud or running in the sand; it gets done but with great difficulty.

Air filters should be changed at least every three months. Buy a year’s supply and mark a calendar with reminders. If your home is near something that produces significant airborne particles—a dirt road or a major construction site—the filter may need to be changed more frequently. If three months is too long, change the filter as often as needed.

Scheduled HVAC Maintenance

The new year might be your prompt to schedule maintenance for the furnace. Inspection and cleaning are not unlike an oil change for a car; they remove contaminants and ensure everything is functioning properly. Annual maintenance can help:

  • Catch small problems before they become large problems and cascade into catastrophic failure. When a switch, control, or sensor weakens, it creates stress on other parts and the whole system. Catch these problems early.
  • Catching small problems ensures the whole system functions at peak performance. Without maintenance, the efficiency of the system gradually erodes and requires more energy (read—more money) to sustain the temperatures the settings call for.
  • Preserving the efficiency and function of the system results in longer useful life and pushes the replacement date further into the future. A well-maintained system lasts around five years longer than systems that receive little care.

HVAC Maintenance: Filling Gaps

A building envelope surrounds every surface of a home, creating barriers to moisture, pests, and outside temperatures. During warm weather, any gap in the building envelope may go unnoticed. However, winter winds that generate cold drafts bring a draft to our attention.

Do not ignore a poorly insulated attic or gaps around windows or doors. The sum of all of the gaps around openings might be as large as a windowpane. Imagine the heat loss from a missing window. Caulk and weatherstripping are inexpensive solutions that result in greater wintertime comfort.

Emergency HVAC Maintenance Preparedness

All of these things are well and good . . . when the power grid functions properly. But what should you do should a weather event or natural disaster interfere with the electric utility? Consider these steps to mitigate the problem:

  • Determine whether your family needs an emergency backup generator for uninterrupted electric service. A generator requires preparation and planning—site development, fuel supply, circuit selection, and a transfer switch. Some sites will require the generator to be elevated, keeping them out of the reach of flash flooding.
  • Make sure that your family is prepared with emergency supplies to cover 3 to 5 days: water for drinking, water for cleaning and flushing, ready-to-eat foods, medical supplies, etc.: emergency agencies have great supply lists and supply sources for anyone gathering supplies.

HVAC Maintenance

Some HVAC maintenance procedures are not an average DIY repair for a homeowner to undertake. Specific training and equipment are required to maintain modern AC systems. To find a local Trane HVAC maintenance technician, visit our Local Dealer search tool.